Sunday, September 30, 2012

Croup: Season 5, Episode 1 (Elijah) ...and a few other thoughts

I was hopeful that we would make it through August and September without having a single croup episode. With literally hours left in the month, Elijah woke up with a raging case of croup during nap-time today. This is only the second time he has had an episode during the day. Dan was at work, so my shaking hands and panicked heart got him downstairs and gave him an epi neb as quickly as I could. The last time he had croup was pretty traumatic, so I have been a bit of a mess since this ordeal. He had a very hard time calming down, which always makes the situation worse. It took a good 15 minutes of the neb before things got better. He no longer had stridor when he was breathing normally, but I could hear it when he coughed or cried. Which meant that another episode tonight wasn't out of the question.

Dan is at the ER with him now, in hopes that the doctor will give him a shot of steroids. I know my boy and I know in my heart that if he doesn't get steroids, we will be up with him again in the middle of the night.

Croup aside..
Things are a little bit tough right now. Our work/life situation is taxing, but on top of that the boys are....difficult. I adore those two monkeys to PIECES. They are my wonderful little people. They sure know how to make Mama crazy, though! :)

On the way home from the dropzone today, I just about lost my mind. I will give you an idea of why...

[Imagine, amidst the following conversation, Sammy periodically SCREAMING at the top of his lungs for no apparent reason. Weee!]
Elijah: Mom, what's this song about?
Me: I don't know, listen to the words and see if you can figure it out!
E: Mom, what kind of truck is that?
Me: A semi-truck.
E: What's it called?
Me: A semi-truck.
E: Who is driving it?
Me: I don't know.
E: What's his name?
Me: Jim.
E: Where is Jim going?
Me: Probably to deliver something.
E: What is he going to deliver?
Me: Tables.
E: What kinds of tables?
Me: I don't know, honey.
E: Oh. What city are we in?
Me: Bloomington.
E: Who lives in Bloomington.
Me: The Mall of America is in Bloomington.
E: Who else?
Me: I don't know.
E: Who is "him" that they just said in the song on the radio?
Me: I don't know.
E: Who is he singing about?
Me: I don't know, honey.
E: What is Cities 97?
Me: A radio station.
E: What kind of radio station?
Me: [silence....]
E: Mom??

And on and on and on..

Kinda funny, but not so funny after hours of it!

I was thinking today, in between answering a million questions, how Elijah has been late in achieving so many milestones. Not just late, but really late. He started crawling at 21 months old. He started saying his first few words at 2 1/2 years old. He started walking at 3 years old. He was a total angel baby and didn't have a single tantrum until after he was 3. So, I was thinking, why would potty training be any different? He was late out of the gate. This potty thing may not be a total defiant/control thing with him. Yes, it is somewhat, but not totally. He is just taking a really long time. Just like everything else.

The thing that throws a wrench in that theory is his cognitive/academic skills. He knew his letters and numbers before he was 2. He has always had incredible retention and memory. He started to read short words at 4, and is reading almost everything at 5 (tonight he read the word "illustrated" with no help). So why is he so far ahead in this area??

I'm not really looking for an answer to that question, but I am glad I have taken the time to think through it all. It has given me a renewed patience with potty training. I have to constantly remind myself that he IS making progress. SLOWLY. But progress is happening over time. I remember wondering if he would ever crawl or talk or walk or enter his "terrible twos." And guess what. He did all of those things!

That leads me back to.... the "terrible twos." In many ways, I think Sammy and Elijah are in the same stage with their behavior. Sammy has started hitting and screaming his head off at inopportune times and doing the things standard for his age. Elijah is right there with him, doing his own rebellious and dramatic performances.

Despite the challenges, I love our little family. I love all three of my amazing boys to pieces. We are a very blessed family and I wouldn't change a thing.

I will end with Elijah's list of specialists, which I wrote up the other day after hearing about his failed hearing test and anticipating having to possibly (and very sadly) add another one. Thanks for checking in! If you have room on your prayer list this week, please pray that Elijah's hearing test this week shows improvement and that whatever is causing his loss of hearing is fixable/curable. Thank you!!

Primary doc
Cardiovascular surgeon
Physical Therapist
Occupational Therapist
Speech Therapist
ENT doc
Audiologist (??)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Teeth, ears and dance moves

Well well well, I certainly have a lot to share, and such little time to share it! I have mucho work to accomplish tonight, so I will make this as quick as possible!

I brought Elijah to the dentist today to take care of a teeny cavity (his second, and in the same exact spot as his last one, despite our religious brushing and flossing). He was terrified at the appointment. :( We tried very hard to get the nitrous on his nose to help calm him down, but he thought that was a mask like he wears in the hospital before surgery. After 40 minutes of reassuring and coaxing and talking sweetly and patiently, we decided the cavity was not going to get fixed (which is "lasered," by the pain). They managed to get the cleaning done, but we have to go back to try and take care of the cavity. If that doesn't work, off to the hospital we will go!

Yesterday I got a call from E's school nurse. He failed his hearing test this week. I had to go to the bathroom at work to shed a few tears after that conversation. Ever since his ear infection this past summer that took two huge doses of antibiotics to get rid of, I have noticed that he has not been hearing as well. I was not totally surprised by the news, but I was very saddened by it. His left ear was the one that failed, and it failed pretty badly. The nurse will give him the test again in one week, and also check for wax in hopes that that is the issue. If he fails again, we will need to see a doctor. Adding another specialist to his list makes me sad, but we will do what we need to do to give him the best life possible.

How about some fun news! Tonight I took the boys to the picnic that was held at Elijah's school. It was such a beautiful evening, and the boys had a blast. It was so much fun watching Elijah run around the playground. He found a friend from his class and they were so cute playing together. And the friend was a BOY! Usually he sticks with the girls! When we were leaving, this little friend ran up and said, "Elijah! Are you leaving??" "Yes." "Bye! See ya later!" Aww, that made my heart happy. Here is a funny video of the boys dancing at the picnic tonight.

I will end with Boy Funnies..

Instead of "pop-tart," Sammy says "potty-tart." :)

Every time the boys fall or bonk a body part on something, they ALWAYS ask Dan or me to "please kiss it!" I love this, and I will bend over in the middle of a parking lot to kiss one of their toes if I need to. Mommy kisses help! So the other day Sammy fell on his bottom and told Dan, "Please kiss my butt, Daddy!" :)

Yesterday Elijah was running his fingers through Dan's beard and paused and said, "Daddy, you are the porcupine in my tree!"

And a few Elijah Gems that I have posted on Facebook recently..

A couple from this afternoon..
"Mom, you are the hair on my ear lobe."
"You are the appetizer in my apple pie."
"You are the woman in my trunk." Umm, yikes?!

"Mom, you are the 19 in my month of September."
"You are the ostrich in my jungle."
"You are the peach in my tree."
"You are the garbage in my garbage truck."
"You are the stairs in my castle."
"You are the fresh, sweet tomato sauce in my jar."

"My favorite friend in school is Autumn. I used to think it was 'Bottom,' but it's not. It's Autumn."

"Mom, are there cages in heaven? And will we sleep in heaven?" Both very good questions!

Life is pretty weird and crazy these days, and so I appreciate these pre-bedtime words even more than usual:
"Mom, you are the Saturn in my outer space."
"You are the milk in my milk truck."
"You are the bee in my bee hive."
And then...
"I love you very, very much, pretty mom!"

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Our week

Here I am, on the other end of my first week at "work." My new job went well! I will be working my butt off while I'm there, but that is good. I like staying busy when I'm away from my boys. It makes the time fly by!

On Wednesday morning Dan and the boys and I attended a pre-IEP meeting with Elijah's care team. Honestly, I did not know what to expect. I went into it not knowing if I would leave smiling or crying.

The meeting was awesome. Seriously awesome. There were 7ish people in the room besides us Portas. Two teachers, a case manager, a psychologist, a speech therapist, a PT, a nurse, a special ed teacher and....maybe 1 or 2 more (it was overwhelming). They all spoke about their personal experiences so far with our oldest boy. Every single one of them had nothing but positive words.

In a nutshell, Elijah is well above where he needs to be academically. He is respectful in class, he communicates well with his teachers and he interacts positively with his peers. He still prefers to interact with adults over children, but when redirected he does great.  One of his teachers made the comment that Elijah is particularly witty. She said that he interjects witty statements that are always time-appropriate. They were pretty impressed by that.

His speech therapist thinks he is doing great. There are a few sounds (ch, sh and th) that she continues to work with him on. She comes into the class two times per week to work with him. I love that she comes into the class (as opposed to removing him) so that his day is not disrupted.

The PT wants to do some evaluating to see where he is at in relation to his peers. She could potentially be working with him to strengthen his core and get him caught up with gross motor. He still sees outside OT/PT weekly, but we will take all the help we can get.

The nurse asked questions about his medical history and limitations he might have. We signed a handful of release forms so she could see his information for herself.

The psychologist asked about his potty issues, but since he does not have issues while at school she was minimally concerned.

At the end of the meeting, I looked at one of his teachers in the eyes and said, "You have encountered NO behavioral issues with Elijah?!" She said, "Nope!" This is great! He is saving it for us, which I am completely fine with.

While I was gone this week, Dan experienced relatively good behavior from Elijah. I think it was VERY timely that I left for a few days. I was at the end of my mommy rope. When I came home last night, I was more than happy to spend endless time with my precious boys. A little bit of time away, after a long summer together, was a good thing.

I will end with a few more funnies!

Sammy has grown very attached to Elijah's stuffed bear, Baloo. Baloo has been with Elijah through every single one of his hospitalizations and surgeries. He is a very special bear. Within the past two months, Sammy has taken a special liking to Baloo. He sleeps with him every night, and always needs to know where he is in the house. Tonight Sammy was playing with the new Goodwill ($2!) barn Dan bought for the boys, and I looked over to see that Sam had placed Baloo underneath the silo.

Elijah and I laughed for five straight minutes. Poor Baloo! Eventually Sammy removed the silo and gave Baloo "woves." (loves)

Here are some Elijah gems that I posted on Facebook this week..

Life is pretty weird and crazy these days, and so I appreciate these pre-bedtime words even more than usual:
"Mom, you are the Saturn in my outer space."
"You are the milk in my milk truck."
"You are the bee in my bee hive."
And then...
"I love you very, very much, pretty mom!"

"My favorite friend in school is Autumn. I used to think it was 'Bottom,' but it's not. It's Autumn."

"Mom, are there cages in heaven?"

"Mom, you are the 19 in my month of September."
"You are the ostrich in my jungle."
"You are the peach in my tree."
"You are the garbage in my garbage truck."
"You are the stairs in my castle."
"You are the fresh, sweet tomato sauce in my jar."

Hoping for a wonderful weekend for you all! Thanks for checking in...xo

Sunday, September 16, 2012


I'll be honest. I am nearing the point of insanity in regards to Elijah's behavior. He can be so tough! These days he is mostly tough. I would say there is little to no harmony between the two of us right now. It's a really tough time. I am frazzled beyond words. I am frustrated to the point of having turned into a mom that I really don't like at all. Yelling, threatening, acting like a completely crazed lunatic most of the time..

So it is fairly timely that I will need to be away from home for three days this week, beginning tomorrow. I will be starting a part-time seasonal job that is about an hour away from our home. I will be staying with my sister Monday through Wednesday from now until the end of October. I am feeling torn about this new adventure, but in the end it will be a good thing for our family. I think it is a very good thing that Elijah and I will have a few days away from each other this week. I put him to bed early tonight for reasons I will not get into, and things were far from good and happy. That makes me very sad.

School seems to be going great for Elijah. I got a call from his teacher, and she said that he is doing well. He is being respectful, he is interacting with his peers appropriately and he is participating in class appropriately. While I am extremely happy about this, I can't help but be a little bit confused about his extreme behavior at home. We will be attending his IEP meeting this Wednesday, so I am sure we will hear more about school then.

I will end with a few more boy funnies, even though I'm not feeling particularly happy this evening..

Instead of "suitcase," Sammy says, "soup-case."
He also likes to ask if he can have a "bite" of water.
The tattoo on his arm is almost gone, so every time he sees it he tells me "Uh-oh! Tattoo is breaking!"
And instead of "notebook," he says, "nope-book."

A few more of Elijah's sayings that I have posted on FB recently:

"Mom, you are the baby dinosaur in my time machine."
"You are the egg in my egg carton."
"You are the lamp in my architecture."
"You are the paintbrush on my paper."
"You are the tea in my cup."
"You are the guy in my taxi car."
"You are the fork in my forklift."
And the one that made us both laugh the hardest..
"You are the drum in my army band."

Driving in the car the other day with Elijah, we had a peaceful couple of minutes (i.e., the constant stream of jabbering was on pause). 
E broke the silence by saying, "MOM!"
"What is your PROBLEM today?!"
I didn't stop laughing the entire rest of the drive home.

"You are fluffy-haired monster mommy." (describes me pretty well, I think)
"You are the man in my curtain."
"You are the princess on my cake."
"You are the umbrella on my beach." 
"You are the keyboard on my computer."
"You are the sheep in my barn."
And of course this had to come out eventually..
"You are the booger in my nose."

Monday, September 10, 2012

S'mores and funnies

The boys and I had a fun weekend. We spent Saturday night at the dropzone, which allowed us to spend some time with Dan since it was too windy to jump. The boys got their first s'mores ever! They ate every last crumb.

I have boy funnies to share!

Some Elijah snippets from before nap-time today:
"Mom, you are a fresh hunky person girl."
"You are the hippo in my boat."
"You are the bee in my flower."
"You are the cat in my purse." (???)
"You are the syrup on my pancakes."

And yesterday before nap (these things always come out before nap for some reason):
"I love you, my beautiful butterfly. You are the watch in my time machine!"

From the day before!
"You are a gently galloping mom, and you are ODDLY cute!"
"You are a lightbulb in my closet full of lightbulbs!"

Here are some cute things that have come from Sammy's cute mouth lately..

Instead of saying "Dinner time!" Sammy yells, "FOOD TIME!" :)

Lately the boys have been saying "You betcha!" in true Minnesota fashion. Except, for Sammy it comes out "I betcha!"

Sammy has been playing with our little animal finger puppets a lot. He loves the green octopus, which he calls, "Deen. Ocket. Pus."

I have much more to share, but no time now. More later! Thanks for checking in!

Friday, September 7, 2012

More silliness coming from the kindergartener's mouth

Elijah finished up his first week of kindergarten, and everything seemed to go well. I am assuming I would have gotten a call if he had been unkind or disrespectful in any way! :)

I mainly wanted to post a few more of Elijah's silly sayings, and one not-so-silly saying (I posted these on Facebook over the past week):

Elijah: "Mama, do you know how much I love you?"
Me: "How much, sweet boy?"
E: "I love you the whole world!"
Me: "Awwww, I love you the whole world, too!"
E: "Yeahh. I love you, kiddo."

Elijah: "Good morning, cute honey!"
And to Dan as he was leaving for the dz: "Bye Dad! Welcome back to your room!"

This one did not make me laugh. :(
E: When do I get to meet my new mommy?
Me: [gasping] WHAT?!
E: My new mommy in my new house!
Me: [speechless]
E: I want a new mommy.
Me: [sad and speechless]

Elijah told me I was the carrot in his bowl of vegetables. He's not a huge fan of carrots...or any vegetables, really. Think I'm seeing a theme here..

E had some gems one day last week before nap-time:
"Mama, you are the peas in my pantry." 
"You are the eyeball in my dessert."
"You are the chocolate cookie in my factory."
And the best one of all..
"You are the music dancing in my radio."

Elijah, on his first day of school: "It is Tuesday, September four, and it is mine first day of kindergarten!" :)
He chose his own outfit, got dressed by himself and got on the yellow bus with a smile (while I cried).

A little suspicious of this "John" kid from E's kindergarten class. The first thing E told me about the first two days after school was that John wouldn't stop talking during circle time and that he got time-outs from the teachers. Please God, do not let "John" be an alias for "Elijah."

"Mama, you are a light bulb in my closet full of light bulbs."
"Hmm, that must make me really special.."

"You are a gently galloping mom, and you are ODDLY cute!"
Thanks, Elijah. :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sammy got a haircut!

The following is further proof that I have the best husband in the world..

Early this morning, as I was preparing for a day with the little boys, Dan hugged me and said, "You are going to go take a nap and then work for a few hours and after that you and I will be having a lunch date." !!! What a perfect and totally unexpected surprise!

The skydiving plane was in for routine maintenance today, so Dan had a random day free! Weee! I accomplished tasks in the morning (a very good thing) and then Dan and I brought the boys to daycare for a few hours. We went out for lunch and after that we sat and stared at a peaceful lake for over an hour. It was awesome.

The weather was beautiful this evening, so we spent some time outside as a family. I got my camera out because I wanted to take pictures of Sammy's new haircut!

Elijah's hair was photo-worthy, too!

Elijah's second day of kindergarten seemed to go well. He provides us with very selective information, so we are assuming he is treating his peers and teachers properly. Please, God.

The first thing he has told me both days has been about "John," the little boy who talks too much and doesn't listen during circle time. I had the thought today that "John" could be Elijah's alter-ego. Only I, the mother of Elijah Daniel Porta, would have this thought. I am praying that John is real. :)

E is LOVING the bus and everything surrounding the topic of school. This boy thrives in the school setting. We are so happy for this!

Depending on the skydiving plane, Dan may or may not have another day at home with us tomorrow. That is both a great and a bad thing. Money vs. family time!

E had a great potty day, which we are very thankful for. We are hoping this continues for the next 40,000 days.

That's all I have tonight! Thanks for checking in, friends. Enjoy the rest of the handsome-boy pics...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A DZ weekend and KINDERGARTEN!

We had a very busy and tiring (but GOOD!) long weekend. We spent two nights at the dropzone in our cozy trailer and hanging out with Daddy and our wonderful skydiving family. The boys played hard, and Dan worked hard.

Skydiving is obviously the main purpose of the dropzone, but there is so much more to it than that. It is a place of peace and passion for Dan and me. After dark, we chat with friends and have bonfires and talk about skydiving. We love this little piece of our lives! I even learned to shoot a gun last weekend! Fun!

The boys play so hard when we are at the dz. They are fortunate to have some really good pals there, whose parents we happen to love. Sammy and Myla are just a few months apart and have a cute little bond. Sam asks about Myla ALL THE TIME. "Where's MYLA?!" :)

The twins are just the sweetest little things. The boys are so sweet with them, and Dan and I adore their parents.

This past weekend we even got a visit from my cousin Trevor and his kids! Here is the beautiful Veda, posing very cutely with Elijah. Is this not the cutest photo ever?!

We got home from the dz yesterday and we were all totally beat.

We woke up today ready to start kindergarten! It seems impossible that Elijah is old enough to be a kindergartener! It was a strange day, both happy and sad.

(Can you tell Sammy put his own shoes on?)

Today was a big day for all of us! We are happy and proud that Elijah has come so far. Three years ago he wasn't talking or walking, and today he is reading, writing and out-scheming his parents.

Since Elijah is still on an IEP, he is still considered "special education." I am grateful for this for many reasons, one of them being that he gets to ride a special little bus that comes directly to the end of our driveway. I had been worrying about him riding the "big" bus. I think he is just too small! Dan and I are both very happy and grateful to have this special bus service. It is a huge relief!

Elijah happily got on the little yellow bus with no problem this morning. I am constantly amazed at his ability to be ready for the next adventure. Once he was in his seat I was fighting back MAJOR tears. I could see him through his window, and I waved to him. I held up my hand and did the "I love you" sign, and he did it back to me. That is when the tears started to flow. I love my big, brave boy!

Thanks to this special bus of his (there is even an aide on board to help buckle him in and look after the kids), this aspect of school was a non-issue for me today. We have been putting him on a little bus since he was 3, so thankfully I got that worrying out of the way long ago.

I have tried hard not to focus on the fact that we had potty issues today.  

Here is the information I was able to gather from Elijah about his first day:

His very special friend from preschool, Laura (Woe-yuh), is in his class! YAY! But...when I asked him if he talked to her, he said, "No. But she is so cute!" Uh oh.

He told me that "John was really loud during circle time. The teacher had to tell him to be quiet. He did not stop talking." Then he told me that he was good during circle time. :)

He got to go outside for recess and he swung on the swings and played with his new friends, Sam and Kayla (or Cara, I couldn't tell which).

He said that his teachers were really nice and that they told him they loved his shirt. :)

(I think Sammy felt a bit in the shadows this morning...)

Elijah has not been saying the nicest things to me lately. My least favorite being "I want a new mommy," which makes my heart hurt so very badly. Of course I know that he is five years old and doesn't know what he is saying and how much it hurts. But it does sting!

He pretty much made up for all of that today. After he got home, he started spouting off the nicest things he could ever say to me. 

"Mama, you are my bestest friend!"
"I love you the entire world!"
"I love you very, very much!"

Those things are good for a mama's heart. 

He didn't seem overly tired after school today, which surprised me. I guess compared to a few days at the dropzone, kindergarten is nothing! He seemed to thoroughly enjoy his day, and he is ready to do it again tomorrow.

We had potty struggles today (thankfully not at school), but I want to point out the positive points of this! Once he goes potty in his pants, his only remaining privileges for the rest of the day are reading and practicing his writing. So we have noticed (after multiple days of losing privileges) that his writing is getting really good! Reading, too.

Dan was home today, so I was able to take a GIANT nap. Despite that, I feel a bit emotionally drained. This transition into kindergarten is an emotional one! It is a big step for our boy, and all of us. Here we go, Kindergarten!!

Thank you for checking in! Wishing you all a wonderful week!